Date: April 18, 2012
Subject: Book Review
The book “Imperial Germany 1871-1918” by Volker R. Berghahn has the under title Economy, Society, Culture and Politics and was first published in 1994 by Berghahn books. The used edition is the revised and expanded edition published in 2005 and summarizes the events in the ‘Kaiserreich’ (1871-1918). Furthermore, the book has 388 pages and is divided in five parts which are Economy, Society, Culture, the Realm of Politics, and World War I. Each part has numerous under parts giving the reader detailed information about each part. In addition, the author did tremendous research on the German Empire, founded by Otto von Bismarck in 1871 and lasting until the end of World War I, to clarify the broader outlines of the development between 1871 and 1918 and to explain why Germany went to war in 1914 and lost that conflict four years later. Volker Berghahn, born 15 February 1938 in Berlin, studied jurisprudence at the University of Göttingen in the first place and then history and politics at the University of North Carolina. He taught in England and Germany before coming to Brown University in 1988 and to Columbia ten years later since then, he is Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University. Moreover, he has published widely on modern German history and European-American relations. The book “Imperial Germany” is a comprehensive history of Germany and is thematically organized to provide data and information about major developments and the Bismarckian and Wilhelmine eras. The author expresses his theses and opinions in this book. Firstly, Berghahn´s position regarding the debates over the Deutschen Sonderweg is balanced and his main view about the German population is that it was characterized by pluralization and polarization. In particular, the society became more pluralistic after 1871 demonstrated by a more colorful and dynamic Kaiserreich. Berghahn demonstrated this richness and...
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